DIARY: My injury free movement circuit

Since last weekend’s workshop I’ve settled into a stronger routine courtesy of the new circuit format in which we do a lot of our work. Tony Riddle first introduced the idea of the circuit to me after our second workshop and then returned in August with an improved concept that left me very excited and eager to try it out as often as possible.

Yesterday began well with two short drills sessions (one in the morning, one at Noon) before a long session in the evening.

Forget static planks, it’s the bounce that counts

I began with the “regular” exercises such as the posture squat and our toe drills to get “warmed up” and then launched into a hip/core routine consisting of five exercises x 10 repetitions done in three circuits. I love these as they really get the heart going, yet the focus remains on proper execution. They include drills such as the “bouncy plank” which unlike the traditional plank correctly teaches your core muscles to turn “on and off” rather than simply being turned on (a negative adaptation when you move) or “burpees into posture squat”. Once again, the burpees would be unrecognisable from those I have seen in classes I have done because you focus on correctly keeping your weight over the balls of your hands while pulling your legs up next your arms (instead of pushing off the ground which again just perpetuates existing poor movement patterns).

Specificity back in the driving seat

This is my favourite part about all exercises I do now: they are 100% specific to running. I don’t do an exercise and wonder “will it really work” or “does this contribute to my running”. I know it does because the connection between each exercise and the ideal running stride has been made clear to me ahead of time with Tony. That way we share the philosophy that if your coach can’t tell you why you are doing what you are doing, you should get another coach (to steal a phrase from, surprise!, Arthur Lydiard).

Once done with this I did a second circuit consisting of box jumps from two stacked Reebok steps straight into a posture squat. This, like all other drills, is done barefoot against a hard surface (wooden floors in my case) so you can land correctly the way you would in running. I then did some posture squats with a 5kg weighted bar (which simulates the head) before jumping on a treadmill and alternating slow trotting with 10 jumps (at slow pace, it goes without saying) for 2 minutes. I repeat this three times which gives me a good 30 box jumps, 30 weighted squats and 120 jumps on the treadmill.

Jump that treadmill!

Moving on, I crank the treadmill up to a blistering 8kph and trot away focusing fully on perfect form. After 5 minutes of that, I do a few ankle squats, put my VivoBarefoot Aqulites on and run the mile down to the Upper Lake car park. A group of GAA players are doing speed work with their coach so I veer into the side, take off the shoes and choose a circuit on the good asphalt path to do a mile barefoot. To my positive surprise I can run it in 6:58 and stop only when my feet begin to burn a bit. Also to my surprise, I find myself passing out some of the “speed-workers”! Happy with that, I put the shoes back on and run an extended spell home for a total of 5.5km outdoors after the 5 minutes indoors. The total session probably lasted me 80 minutes.